Who? What? Why? It’s common amongst our clients who are proceeding in a kitchen extension or knock-through to come into contact with a structural engineer. And it is completely understandable when our clients are confused as to what needs to be communicated with structural engineers. So, let me provide you with a guide that takes you through what they do, why you may need one, and what the costs are when interacting with this trade.  

What do structural engineers do?  

Structural engineers are highly valued and skilled engineers who focus on the structural (as the name suggests) strength and durability of buildings, bridges, skyscrapers etc. As any professions, there are many avenues a structural engineer can take. But in principle, they are very skilled and can offer insight into many aspects of a project. For example, structural engineers can comment on; 

  • Safety: they are trained to design buildings and structures that can last rough weather, and use. E.g., they wouldn’t build a dance studio where they floor rattled each time it was used. Equally, they wouldn’t design an extension that risks falling down.  
  • Dynamics: this particular trade is quickly advancing to achieve long-lasting structures but with sustainable and cost-efficient materials.  

A structural engineer is a vital team player, alongside trades such as other engineers, surveyors or architects.  

You may be wondering at this point what the difference is exactly between a structural engineer and an architect…let me clear that up for you. An architect has a focus on designing the building or structure and often passes these drawings onto a structural engineer who will comment on the feasibility of the design. Effectively, the structural engineer can be a party pooper on the architects vision 😊 But more likely, they will work together to achieve the vision with reasonable materials. 

Do I need a structural engineer?  

Most probably, yes, if you are conducting a project such as a renovation, whether that be an extension, knock-through, loft conversion or any altercation to your house. Simply because they will be able to provide input on the houses’ structure and safety which is required by building control.  

Structural engineers aren’t only needed when you are embarking on a home renovation, if you have any concerns about your house structure (e.g. sloping ceilings, cracks in the wall) a structural engineer will be able to give you expert insight as to the problem cause and solution. A surveyor could also be an option for you at your preference.  

Still not sure? Don’t worry, there are many people surrounding you that will be able to advise you on this matter, including our team at JR, your architect or your builder.  

How much does a Structural Engineer cost? 

No one likes a flexible answer, but unfortunately that is all I can offer you. The costs you encounter with a structural engineer will heavily depend on your project size and if there are any problems found with your property. My advice to you would be to look around and ask around, but mostly rely on the quote given directly to you.  

Feel free to check out this website: Checkatrader who provide estimates so that you are fully prepared for your project.  

As always, feel free to contact us with any direct questions you may have.